In the oral tradition of the Inuit, stories of transformation have always been among the most compelling. In the 1920’s the subjects of these epic tales were brought to life, for outsiders through drawings that ethnographer Knute Rasmussen coaxed from reluctant narrators in Canada’s Kitikmeot region. With encouragement from southerners working with the Inuit after World War II, there came an outpouring of sculpture that depicted an array of subject matter: that included interpretations of daily life, animals that nurtured the Inuit for generations, and characters of legend. It was these stories and legends rendered in three dimensions that most captured the attention of collectors the world over.
The continued creation of compelling sculpture is very much alive and it is with great pleasure that the Inuit Gallery of Vancouver presents this exhibition of primarily contemporary works under the title of TRANSFIGURATIONS. Included are a multitude of shamans working their transformative powers. Captured in the vibrant serpentine of Baffin Island; the difficult, sometimes iron-like stone of Kivalliq; the mottled pyroxene of Kitikmeot, and the rich variations from Arctic Quebec, these are dynamic sculptures, draw the viewer into the power of the shape shifting Inuit world. Billy Merkosak’s antlered whalebone shaman and the tiny ivory tupilak figure of a spirit seal show the range in size that can be employed. Living in Ontario, David Piqtoukun’s three sculptures exemplify the resourceful nature of the Inuit through his use of materials from around the world.
Please join with us in exploring the fascinating world of TRANSFIGURATIONS.
Catalogue available upon request.